ABM – Chapter 21

Translator: larvyde  Editor: Scales Proofreader(s): Merp-Merp

Note: Not much other than that I am going to tell everyone ahead of time that I am going to make 2 versions of chapter 25, one in the weird POV that the Japanese use and then one in 3rd person. I am going to post the 3rd person version first, but if you decide that weird Japanese POV is better or that it MUST be translated the weird POV way for the sake of pure translation, then I will replace the versions.


 

The destination for the day was a certain merchant that dealt in medicines.

 

A person who deals in Yellow Moongrass, a certain flower that bloomed only on Yellow days.

Contrary to their beautiful appearance, they were poisonous, and naturally being refined for that reason, they were not items for decent people.

 

If one were to drink it, one would be struck with a jolt of pleasure within moments.

However the more it is imbibed, the more damage one’s body will receive through neural overload- typical of narcotics.

 

The client was a woman in town.

A woman who worked in a brothel, she wanted to avenge a friend that lost her life through the use of this drug.

With that request, she paid three gold — enough for a family of four to live for several years in the capital.

 

Without contacting at least a few information dealers, one had no way of sending a letter to Black Maria.

This prostitute spent commendable effort to be able to reach us thought Shizuru when the woman came in.

 

That was certainly how much she held her broken friend dear, how much she hated the merchant that broke her.

Well, this kind of incident is relatively common in that line of business.

 

At any rate, there weren’t any catches or traps worth mentioning- a completely normal job.

Without anything to object to, Shizuru took the job.

 

Thinking back, this was unexpectedly refreshing, a relatively pleasant job.

Black Maria’s policy was to kill anyone, good people or bad, vagrants or kings, with good reason or simple grudge, or whether a single person or a hundred, so long as money was paid.

But sure enough, getting a job killing small time villains was better than one on a good person.

 

Shizuru was already too accustomed to killing, there was not even an ounce of tension when he swung his knife.

There was just enough *virtue* left in him to think so.

 

And for this job, Shizuru will be working with Lady who was tasked with disposing of the body, and also Ludmila.

The merchant’s turf was a particularly complicated section of the East Ward, she was there as a measure against losing sight of him.

 

With her temperature-seeing magic eye, Ludmila could clearly see the shapes of people, even in the dark of night.

If push came to shove, she could bring them down with her rifle.

Promising half the rewards, Shizuru was able to gain Ludmila’s cooperation without a hitch.

 

— However.

All his judgement ended up being meaningless.

 

He departed for the job in the middle of the night to where the merchant was that night according to the information he gathered.

After a short walk through the slums, he arrived safely at the destination, and there was his target, hacked to pieces and going cold, laying in a pool of his own blood.

 

“— Now this is troubling.”

 

Shizuru crouched down near the expired merchant and muttered indifferently.

A short distance behind him, Ludmila was nauseatingly looking down on the corpse.

 

“Hm … they accurately avoided the bone, repeatedly stabbing at the flesh. Looking from the depth of the cuts, the weapon was a knife, maybe a kitchen knife. The cause of death is blood loss, or probably shock from the pain.”

“Which means, what?”

“The culprit is quite used to doing this.”

 

Someone wildly swinging a blade definitely wouldn’t be able to do this.

It was obvious that it was done by someone who at least knew their way around the human body

 

“… do you think this is the Chopper you mentioned the other day?”

“I wonder now. As far as I heard they kill indiscriminately here and there in the East Ward, so I can’t deny the possibility.”

 

As far as Shizuru could see, all wounds inflicted on the body was done while it was still alive

The wounds all totalled forty small and large, major and minor.

Having the bladesmanship to be able to inflict such wounds within the one or two minutes it took for the body to go into shock from blood loss while considering the opposition from the enemy, this wasn’t a feat someone like Shizuru or Eliza could replicate.

 

Someone at Beth’s level could probably do it.

Simply put, the person who did this had skills at least on par with her.

 

“The probability isn’t low, but I can’t say for sure. At any rate, we were saved some trouble. Death is the same no matter who did it, so let’s just be thankful this job ended without any trouble on our part.”

“… you sure it’s okay?”

“Policy is to refund half the retainer’s fee in case of the target dying from accident or by a third party after the job is commissioned. There’s no problem in particular.”

 

There’s a precedent of this happening in the past and caused a small problem.

Nowadays, it’s stipulated in the contract document.

That said, there’s not many people gutsy enough to loudly complain to an assassin.

 

“So the payment will be reduced a little, sorry.”

“I don’t really care. I didn’t join because I wanted money. I’m not Casca, I’m not going to be stingy.”

“That so? But well, it’ll be awkward to return the money to the client after all, so let’s put it to pay for the friend’s treatment.”

 

Even though Shizuru said so, the toxin of the yellow moongrass contained a tinge of yellow magic.

White magic had bad affinity with it. In the face of the brighter lightning, the efficacy of healing magic dropped by half.

Normal Healers couldn’t do anything against it, so the fact that Shizuru was able to extricate yellow moongrass poison shows that he was high leveled as a healing magic user to the point that it could be projected that he might be able to use high level healing magic in the near future.

 

Returning to the main topic:

 

“… But we have to think in case something like this repeats itself.”

“I suppose. What’ll Casca say, losing half the retainer’s fees?”

“Well, that wasn’t what I … but yeah, there’s also that too.”

 

Smiling wryly to Ludmila, Shizuru said, “Let’s go back for now.”

It’s not good to have long conversations in front of a corpse. It’ll bring trouble if anyone saw, and the smell of blood and rotting flesh will get into clothes and hair.

 

They then turned back

Strangely, Shizuru thought for some reason that they were going to see something similar soon.

Call it an expectation, or maybe a presentiment, he felt a slight omen of trouble coming near

 

— Shizuru’s bad hunch more or less came true.

 

Several times after that, about one in every three or four jobs, the target had been killed in advance.

As the money inevitably decreased, sure enough, Casca began to complain.

 

However, the important thing wasn’t that, but the unidentified street killer who probably offed their targets, AKA Chopper.

 

It didn’t matter whether it was chance or on purpose.

But the fact that they were loitering around the place they worked was a disadvantage they couldn’t ignore.

 

The decrease in retainer’s fees were also a disadvantage.

If this goes on, a lot of things will be getting harder to do.

 

With the indiscriminate killer causing an uproar around, there is a fear of being found out and lumped together by the garrison patrols.

No, at this point, the garrison would be the preferable option.

 

The presence of the guardian knights appearing here and there in the East Ward like Rosa said was the biggest problem.

 

He had investigated the new patrol route patterns and neurotically paid careful attention in order to not suddenly bump into one of them.

Nevertheless, it would all be for nothing if they were linked to the street killer’s actions.

Even Shizuru who was normally unperturbed and relaxed might go a little crazy if that were to happen.

 

Therefore, he had to do something, both about the guardian knights loitering the place and also the street killer

 

They might need to lay low until the situation in the East Ward cooled down, but for Black Maria, this was the time to make their name.

Shizuru received direct instructions from Richelieu to not refuse requests as much as possible.

 

So he might need to ask Richelieu for instructions after all.

For Shizuru, who was at loss as to how to settle the situation, that was the answer that ended up calming him down.

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